What happened

Shares of crude oil shipper Nordic American Tankers (NYSE:NAT) surged ahead to close the day up 9.5% on Wednesday -- all on apparently no news.

So what

The emphasis is on the word "apparently." While it's true there was no company-specific news to explain today's rise -- no earnings releases from the company, no upgrades on Wall Street, not so much as a price target hike -- things are happening in the background of the oil market that affect the company.

First and foremost is the ongoing story of Iran's alleged attack on Saudi oil facilities two weekends back, which threw oil markets for a loop. Analysts have speculated that in a world where access to Persian Gulf oil may not be as secure as we thought it was, oil consumers may now focus on building up their oil reserves, increasing demand for oil transport services from companies like Nordic.  

Seeming to confirm this theory, the Baltic Dirty Tanker Index (which tracks the cost of chartering tankers) has surged 27% higher since this month began, from 656 at the end of August to 833 today.  

Oil tanker foredeck painted red

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

If the prices of oil tanker charters are rising, then Nordic American Tankers' revenue and profits should soon follow. Unless and until the crisis in the Persian Gulf is resolved, Nordic's fortunes should continue to float higher.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.